SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Police (ISP) works to prevent potential firearm related tragedies by keeping firearms out of the hands of those who pose a significant threat to themselves or others, and our work is proving effective. Over the past year, ISP strengthened firearm safety laws in Illinois and increased education and training to law enforcement agencies and schools about using those safety laws.
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“We are united in our commitment to preventing gun related tragedies in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m thankful for the Illinois State Police’s diligent efforts to train law enforcement agencies, school administrators, and medical professionals about the importance of reporting individuals who pose a threat of gun violence and how to do so. Every neighborhood and every home deserves to be free from gun violence, and the State of Illinois will continue to make significant investments in public safety and violence reduction.”
Law enforcement agencies, school administrators, and medical professionals submit Clear and Present Danger reports to ISP when a person poses a significant threat to themselves or others. The ISP Office of Firearms Safety (OFS) reviews the Clear and Present Danger report and makes a determination on the individual’s Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Card status or application. The OFS unit motto is “Semper Vigilans” (Always Vigilant) and its mission is to identify and intercept threats submitted by law enforcement and assist in stopping gun violence before it occurs.
“We can stop potential tragedies when law enforcement, school administrators, and medical professionals file Clear and Present Danger reports,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Continued vigilance, identification of dangerous individuals, and hands on work by state and local police can save lives.”
ISP dedicates significant resources, both technology and personnel, to reviewing Clear and Present Danger reports. Using a web-based portal launched by ISP earlier this year, law enforcement agencies and schools are able to easily submit Clear and Present Danger reports allowing ISP to review the submissions more quickly. ISP conducts outreach, training, and education to schools and law enforcement agencies throughout the state to raise awareness about Clear and Present Danger reporting. So far in 2023, January 1 – September 30, ISP has received a total of 10,144 Clear and Present Danger reports from law enforcement, school administrators, and medical professionals, resulting in 4,212 FOID revocations or application denials. Of the 10,144 reports submitted, 4,912 individuals did not have a FOID card or application pending. Every day, ISP reviews approximately 30 Clear and Present Danger reports from across the state and works with local police to bring those revoked cardholders into compliance by making sure they no longer have access to firearms.
- In a situation that occurred earlier this year, a mother reported to a police department in northern Illinois that her son was having homicidal and suicidal thoughts that had been getting worse over the past few weeks, culminating in him threatening to kill himself and his grandparents by “putting a bullet in their heads.” The mother told police her son had recently purchased a gun and she was worried he was going to shoot himself and/or his grandparents. The local police department submitted a Clear and Present Danger report to ISP, ISP confirmed it met the statutory requirements, and revoked the son’s FOID card. ISP investigated further and contacted the gun shop, which confirmed the son had just picked up his newly purchased firearm and ammunition earlier that same day. ISP immediately alerted the local police department who located the son on a traffic stop and recovered the newly purchased firearm and ammunition from his vehicle before he could hurt himself and/or his grandparents.
- In another situation, a student accused of cheating in class, threatened to shoot and kill his classmates. The student sent an email to family members stating he wanted to shoot his classmates and was found to have used a school computer to research AR rifles. Based on a risk assessment, the school administrator submitted a Clear and Present Danger report to ISP. While the student did not have a FOID card or pending application at the time, ISP affirmed the report and if the individual applies for a FOID card in the future, the information can be taken into consideration for eligibility. Additionally, law enforcement worked with the family to remove a firearm in the home while the student receives treatment for his mental health issues.
- School officials in a different school district discovered a student who had drawings of himself surrounded by weapons and ammunition and had labeled himself a killer. His drawings also included other students and he reportedly admitted this was his “kill book.” The school district submitted a Clear and Present Danger report and while the student did not have a FOID card or pending application at the time, ISP affirmed the report and the information will be taken into consideration should he apply for a FOID card in the future. In this case as well, law enforcement worked with the family to remove a firearm from the home.
- Earlier this year, a law enforcement agency in southern Illinois submitted a Clear and Present Danger report on a person who had been hospitalized due to expressing suicidal ideations and who attempted to purchase a firearm for pick-up upon his release from the hospital. A social worker notified law enforcement, who submitted the Clear and Present Danger report. ISP affirmed the determination and revoked the individual’s FOID card. ISP successfully located the firearm dealer to communicate that the individual’s FOID was now revoked, and the individual was prevented from obtaining the firearm. ISP’s investigation revealed the individual had called the firearm dealer from the psychiatric ward to check on the status of the gun he had ordered.
- In another case, ISP affirmed Clear and Present Danger reports submitted by a law enforcement agency in northern Illinois that detailed several domestic incidents in which an individual threatened to kill and cause harm to others. The reports described an incident in which the individual pointed a firearm at his spouse during an argument, as well as information about abusing narcotics. During the most recent incident, the individual put a firearm to his spouse’s head while threatening to harm her. Law enforcement submitted the report to ISP and within hours, ISP affirmed the Clear and Present Danger and revoked the individual’s FOID card. ISP Special Agents located and secured all of the individual’s firearms after spending hours accompanying him to different locations.
- In yet another case, a small police department in northeast Illinois filed a Clear and Present Danger report for an individual living in their jurisdiction who had been threatening to kill several members of his family, as well as doctors and nurses in an Indiana psychiatric hospital close to the Illinois border. The individual’s family in Illinois reported to police that he had guns in his car and they were worried about him having access to the firearms upon his release from the hospital. ISP contacted the hospital in Indiana to confirm the threatening statements and learned the individual could be released from the hospital anytime. ISP traveled to the relevant courthouse and assisted the local police department in obtaining a Firearms Restraining Order. A search warrant was subsequently issued and executed on the individual’s car. Police recovered a cache of guns and ammunition, including an AK-47 and shotgun. The individual lived out of state and did not have a FOID card, but ISP alerted local law enforcement in his home jurisdiction about the individual’s death threats and shared that multiple firearms and ammunition had been recovered from his vehicle.
- In the past month, a southwestern Illinois police department made a Clear and Present Danger report on both a juvenile threatening to shoot fellow students, as well as his mother who admitted to not properly securing firearms in their home from her troubled son. An investigation revealed the father/husband of this family had his FOID card revoked. With ISP assistance, law enforcement removed firearms from the home after the mother’s FOID was revoked. While this student did not have a FOID card or pending application at the time, ISP affirmed the report and if the individual applies for a FOID card in the future, the information can be taken into consideration for eligibility.
- Within just the last two week, a central Illinois law enforcement agency submitted a Clear and Present Danger report on an individual who was recently fired and was making threats towards his former place of employment. Police received information that this person’s mental health had been deteriorating over the course of the last several weeks and he simultaneously had been purchasing multiple firearms and ammunition during that time period. After the Clear and Present Danger report was filed, and the individual’s FOID card revoked, police worked to locate the cache of firearms he had reportedly acquired. Law enforcement obtained a Firearms Restraining Order from the county court and secured a search warrant to retrieve the firearms. The local law enforcement agency, with help from ISP, successfully located and secured the firearms.
- In a separate case, police attempted to stop a driver for a traffic violation, but the driver fled from officers. Police later found the vehicle with guns and drugs inside and obtained and execute a search warrant for the driver’s home. Officers found several handguns, rifles, and drugs and suspected the individual was engaging in gun and drug trafficking. The individual’s wife claimed some of the guns, which were found to be loaded and not secured. After learning the woman’s young son had access to both the guns and drugs, police filed a Clear and Present Danger report for both the driver and his wife. ISP affirmed the Clear and Present Danger and removed all the firearms from the home while seeking criminal charges.
- In another situation, through a search warrant, ISP seized several firearms from an individual being investigated for several different violent crimes, including homicide, after discovering he was allowing juveniles identified as committing crime, including discharging firearms, access to loaded guns. Local police reported the individual as a Clear and Present Danger, which ISP affirmed. ISP revoked the individual’s FOID card and seized the guns, which ensured the firearms did not get into the wrong hands while the police agency finalized its investigation into the individual’s criminal activity and awaited charges.
- Finally, law enforcement in central Illinois recently contacted ISP regarding a domestic violence call in which an individual attempted to light his wife on fire. After dousing her with gasoline, she was able to escape to a neighbor’s house before he ignited the lighter he was holding. The local police investigation revealed the individual recently obtained a FOID card. Police submitted a Clear and Present Danger report and ISP immediately revoked the individual’s FOID card.
These are just some of the Clear and Present Danger reports where ISP’s quick actions intercepted the threat and helped prevent gun violence before it happened.
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